CPAWS-BC celebrates a commitment to protecting 30% by 2030 and advancing Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas in BC

CPAWS-BC celebrates a commitment to protecting 30% by 2030 and advancing Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas in BC

CPAWS-BC applauds provincial direction to protect 30% of land by 2030

December 8, 2022, traditional unceded Coast Salish Territory/Vancouver, British Columbia — The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, British Columbia (CPAWS-BC) is celebrating the Government of BC’s move to take major action on conservation by protecting 30% of lands by 2030 and advancing Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCAs). This crucial direction was set through the mandate letter from the Premier to the new Minister of Water, Land and Resource Stewardship, Nathan Cullen, and makes BC the second province in Canada to make this commitment.

“With this direction, BC is investing in our future, and protecting the natural world that provides our food, clean water, clean air and stable climate,” says Tori Ball, Terrestrial Conservation Manager with  CPAWS-BC. “Protected areas help to mitigate the worst effects of climate change, while contributing to diversified local economies and advancing BC’s reconciliation goals. This is extremely good news for all British Columbians.”

“We are very happy to see the Government of BC remains committed to protecting our coastal marine ecosystems in this mandate too,” says Kate MacMillan, Ocean Conservation Manager for CPAWS-BC. “This is good for marine life and also safeguards the livelihoods of those living there. A healthy ocean is good for nature, and for BC’s economy.”

Existing protected area proposals and IPCA declarations add up to nearly 100,000 square kilometres, covering two and a half times the landmass of Vancouver Island.

“BC is the most biologically diverse province in Canada,” says Ball. “The new mandate letter shows support for work that is already underway to halt and reverse biodiversity loss here in BC . Protecting 30% by 2030, supporting IPCAs, developing a biodiversity law as a key recommendation from the Old Growth Strategic Review – this is all good news for our land, waters and wildlife.”

Indigenous Nations in the province are already leading the way through conservation visions, declarations and stewardship initiatives in their traditional territories. Ball says she is hopeful the mandate letter will specifically lead to increased action on Indigenous-led conservation proposals such as the Kaska Dena’s Dene K’éh Kusān and the Lower Similkameen’s sməlqmíx Protected Areas.

Research shows that biodiversity thrives on Indigenous-managed lands and waters, and these are just two of the incredible proposals that would safeguard intact watersheds and create refuges for wildlife like caribou and many other species” she says. “Their work allows threatened species to make a comeback, bolsters Indigenous rights to land and culture, and helps the province adapt to a rapidly changing climate, so it must be supported.”

The announcement comes during the Fifteenth Conference of the Parties (COP15) to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Montreal, and where Ball and MacMillan are attending on behalf of CPAWS-BC alongside Indigenous partners to encourage Canada and the international community to land an ambitious new global deal to save nature, and urge them to support Indigenous Peoples’ land and ocean protection efforts.


For interviews, contact:

Tori Ball, Territorial Conservation Manager, CPAWS BC | (604) 685-7445 x24

Kate MacMillan, Ocean Conservation Manager, CPAWS BC| ( 604) 685-7445 x 26

About CPAWS-BC: 

The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) is Canada’s only nationwide charity dedicated solely to the protection of our public land, ocean, and freshwater, and ensuring our parks and protected areas are managed to protect nature. Since 1963, CPAWS has played a leading role in protecting over half a million square kilometers. Our vision is to protect at least half of Canada’s public land and water in a framework of reconciliation – for the benefit of wildlife and people.

The CPAWS British Columbia chapter (CPAWS-BC) works to protect wilderness in every corner of BC and deep into the ocean. We have been defending BC since 1978, and are dedicated to keeping BC’s natural environment thriving forever. Nature is BC’s best hope.

Follow us! @CPAWSBC

Kaska lands and waters. Photo by Adam Combs.
Kaska lands and waters. Photo by Adam Combs.